Witching Hour

WitchingHour

We were in the car driving home from my parent’s house last Saturday. The evening before Fox had scream/cried for three hours straight and nothing we did could make it stop. Inconsolably is the word pediatricians use. Fox was crying bloody murder and as new parents we were freaked out. And for a week straight, like clockwork, Fox was inconsolable every evening starting at 6:30PM. Apparently this nightly meltdown is called The Witching Hour. The time of night when the ghouls come out and possess the bodies of sweet babies everywhere.

So, we’re driving home from my parents’ house during said Witching Hour last Saturday. Fox had been fussy all day but my mom busted out her grandma magic and kept him sleepy and content all. day. long. So, we head home just as the fuss began it’s crescendo. I thought the car may be our saving grace and out run the ghouls, sending our baby into a peaceful slumber. But no. Fox starts screaming. And then I start crying. And neither of us stop for the next hour. Now look, I know babies cry. I just didn’t know that it could feel like torture.

So what do you do when a baby won’t stop crying? You feed him, change his diaper, swaddle, shush, and swing him. You set him down. Then pick him up. You meditate. Then pray. Then you cry because eventually you lose your shit. Then you feel bad for crying because you’re supposed to be a graceful and patient warrior momma. Then you Google.

Google tells you to do all the things you’ve already done and it might tell you that your baby has colic… Which is a disease nobody seems to be able to define beyond “baby that cries a lot.” Google tells you not much can be done and that it only lasts for a few months. A few months!? But you’re supposed to be enjoying every moment.Which leaves you feeling even more hopeless.

So then you wipe away your tears and stare at yourself in the mirror for a minute. You pick your baby up and create a safe space in your arms for him to exorcise his gremlins in and you count your blessings that he’s alive in this world. Or at least that’s what I did.

If you’re a new parent Googling “Witching Hour Crying Baby How to Make It Stop” here’s what worked for me … but no guarantees:
• I called my mom: Grandma’s know a thing or two about raising a baby. They’ll swoop in and show you how it’s done with nothing but love and patience – both of which you may feel you’re running short on.
• I made a routine: For the first 5 weeks of Fox’s life we were winging everything as we figured out how to take care of a baby. There was little room for routine – all of our actions were reactions. But the Witching Hour called for a routine. Not for the baby as much as it was for ourselves. We were still trying to do our nightly business of cooking dinner, watching The Daily Show, and enjoying a night cap. As much as I want the baby to fit seamlessly into our lives as-is he’s got his own needs. The biggest one being sleep when he’s tired. So now at 6PM we dim the lights in our bedroom, change his diaper, feed him, swaddle him, and rock / bounce / shush / feed him while singing Iko Iko until he falls asleep. And it works. Sometimes it takes an hour. Sometimes it only takes 20 minutes. And then I have the rest of my evening with Jeremy to cook dinner, watch The Daily Show, and enjoy a night cap (which for me these days is a bottle of Kombucha).
• Radiate love: I remind myself that my baby is just trying to figure out how to live in this world – just as much as I’m trying to figure out how to be a parent. So I like to imagine a soft lime green light pouring out of my heart and filling the room with love. I Imagine that love soothing my baby down to his cells. Yup, it’s totally woo-woo. It doesn’t magically make my baby stop crying but it does make me feel a little less shitty.

Are you a new parent managing a new baby’s tears? Or maybe a been-there-done-that pro? Tell me about it. What works for you? 

  1. Katie F.

    I’m a parent of a 10.5 month old and I think you have a great attitude. Even in the not-newborn stage, we have to wing it. The routines change, it does get easier, but mostly (I think) because everyone is adjusting. Little one is learning new things about how to live at the same time we’re trying to adjust and stay happy ourselves. Sounds to me like you guys are doing all the right things. Have fun in the best times and best of luck in the crying in the car with a screaming baby times!

    • Thank you, Katie. It’s an adjustment for sure. I think I was going into parenthood with a bold thought that he’d just fit into our lives but like any relationship needs are to be met and compromises are to be made. I’m happy to bend a little for this little guy, though. :)

      Best to you and your family!

  2. Alien Mind Girl

    Oh my goodness, when my nephew did that during babysitting I thought I’d broken him!! It IS scary! I called my brother to tell him the baby was broken and let him hear the crying on the phone. He didn’t sound too worried, which helped. He said if my nephew was still crying in an hour, to call back and he would come home and take care of him. In an HOUR?!! I had a minipanic. I called my husband for moral support and an emergency milkshake delivery. I called my mom to make sure my brother wasn’t crazy. But sure enough, 45-50 minutes in, baby stops and goes to sleep, and I didn’t have to call his parents again.

    I didn’t realize it was “a thing.” Witching Hour is a good name for it… he normally was a calm baby.

    Eventually I did perfect the talent of holding him, endlessly dancing around the house, turning lights on and off (baby zen for my nephew – still – two years later), and making singing noises to partially calm him down when he was sleepy to lessen screaming time, but those first few experiences were stressful. And I’m just the auntie!

    That picture of Fox is beautiful.

    • Yes! We switch lights on and off too!

      I think that would be a scary situation for an auntie (especially one who doesn’t have experience with crying kids). Kudos to you!

      That photo is actually Fox yawning but I thought it got the message across. ;)

  3. The Witching Hour is legit. Both of my girls went through that when they were infants and, to be honest, they both still switch into a weird gear in the evenings now (they are seven and three). I think you are doing exactly what you should be doing, which is preparing yourself, surrendering. Know that it’s coming, keep things calm and steady as the hour approaches, and just maintain your grace as best you can. Playing Bob Marley really really low helped soothe my older daughter but the younger one always just had to work through it on her own.

    • I’d say even adults have a Witching Hour… It’s probably why Happy Hour is a thing! We all need to decompress from our days, right? So yes, I’m just trying to now surrender and hold space for Fox to decompress in the only way he knows how.

      But it is already getting better! We’re all getting to know each other a little better and I’ve gotten better and knowing what he needs to chill out. Phew!

  4. Three Words: Dunstan Baby Language. Certainly not the answer to everything but I was amazed at how much this helped us understand and respond to our daughter’s needs. The Witching Hour is totally a thing, and according to this theory it’s the build up of the day’s missed cues.

    • Oh thank you! Checking this out ASAP.

  5. Elizabeth

    Long time reader, first time commenter. My son was cursed by the witching hour, which luckily ended around 6-8 weeks. I remember putting him in the ergo and walking laps around our house. I even started singing a song (would sing “Rylan it’s ok” over and over again), and now I sing it whenever he’s fallen or fussing from teething and it calms him instantaneously. It’s amazing how babies really read your energy…the more uptight you are, the more uptight they will be. Walking and music relax me, so I’m sure as I walked the house and sang Rylan could feel me relax and would then be able to relax himself. You’re doing great warrior mama, and know that we all have those cry-with-the-baby moments.

    • Elizabeth, yes! I was just telling my girlfriend Claire yesterday that it feels like a big part of calming him down is calming myself down. That’s what helped me so much about watching my mom with fox. She handled him with such love, and calm confidence. That’s what I needed to learn and see even more than a “have you tried this?” technique.

  6. jaclyn

    In my family, there’s a practice that all the old Auntie’s and Granny’s follow where they basically tire the babies out by constantly playing with them and keeping there attention alert all day…almost to point where the babies are annoyed. The theory is that then by the end of the day they’ll be so wiped out they won’t have the energy to cry or scream.
    None of the babies ever had colic in my family, so maybe Granny knows what she’s doin’!

  7. Megan

    My eyes started watering just thinking about our boy’s witching hour. Often, taking him outside was the only thing that helped. Every afternoon between 5 and 6, I would sit on our front porch and shhh, bounce, swing, or take him for a walk. (Luckily, it was summer.) Sometimes he would calm down, other times he would just cry until he wore himself out.

    Our pediatrician theorized that babies get so overcome by all the new sounds, sights, etc. that by day’s end they can’t help but melt down. But I’m super interested to see Victoria’s comment on Dunstan Baby Language. Will check that out should we have a second little.

  8. Dave

    In those moments try to think about this: in just sixteen years you’ll still be sitting up at night crying; except now Fox will be out exercising his newly acquired right to drive. In the seat next to him will be some young siren casting her spell and the Witching Hour will have a whole new meaning. So in his inconsolable moments, somehow cherish them; they’ll be gone before you know it.
    Oh and on a practical note: we used to swaddle them all up and lay them ON the clothes dryer, standing their surrounding them obviously. Somehow the quiet, warm hum and vibration of the dryer seemed to work. And keep singing to him.

    • It’s easy to feel like I’ll have this little newborn as a baby forever. Through this process I’ve learned how little lyrics I know to lullabies or even my favorite songs. I sing Iko Iko on repeat hoping it has a Pavlovian effect on him down the road.

  9. Kristin

    Ah I love this post! Not because I want you to be in pain but because I miss hearing & knowing about your daily life. Which now has a baby in it!

    • I know! I miss you!

  10. Becca

    A friend of mine called it “UN Happy Hour” haha. The passage of time is what worked for us, that and somehow trying to remain calm in the face of your crying baby. He’s not hurt or sick, he’s just a little baby, learning how to live. Sounds like you have the right attitude. Keep radiating your green love light, he’ll grow out of it before you know it.

    • Exactly – I’ve never felt so frustrated and so compassionate at the same time. It’s truly already getting so much better – which I’m sure is just prepping us for the next hurdle coming our way. ;)

  11. JC

    I don’t have a baby, but my parents tell my horror stories of me a a child. Apperently I was horribly cholicy (is that a word?) The only thing that made me happy was baths and riding in the car. Suprised im a picses? lol The car clearly didnt work for you but maybe a warm bath?

    • Yup, warm baths totally do the trick! Until the water turns cold and I’ve got a baby pooping on me. Ha!

  12. Heather

    I have an almost 2 year old and an almost 4 month old. Thankfully the 4 month old has been an absolute dream… hardly any crying at all, but our 2 year old would definitely have those moments as a baby where I just had no idea what to do. Even now he has these moments where it seems like nothing we do is right. We did find that our son needed routine, though… he always has and still does. He’s so much happier and calm when we have a routine – less crying and he sleeps better. Granted, sometimes you just have to wing it, and he’s made adjustments as well with a new baby in the house who has a routine, but likes to randomly switch it up now and then keeping us all on our toes. Some things that have worked for us, though… both of our babies loved their mobiles. Our 4 month old is infatuated with hers and loves to watch it in her crib (she still sleeps in our bed at night). I also have Himalayan salt lamps in both of the kids’ rooms and they’re really calming and peaceful. We also play music that we find soothing and both kids like that in the evenings. Nothing is better than a warm bath, though, and we have an essential oil called “Calm the Child” that we put on feet before bedtime. Both kids seem to like their nightly massages and calming touches.

    Keep up those peaceful thoughts and good vibes and things will get easier.

    • It seems like second babies always seem to be more calm from what I hear – and again I think it has to do with the confident energy you probably have from experience.

      Jeremy and I both thrive on routine so I’m sure Fox will appreciate that too. Especially as we learn to understand what he usually needs and when.

      We have a salt lamp too and just ordered two more! And I’m looking into oils for the babe too! Great tips. XO

  13. brigzorn

    I always answer those ‘how is parenting going’ questions with…”It’s amazing, but um, very humbling.” I’m only 7 months in, but just when we think we’ve got it all figured out something major changes. We started a night time routine right around 6 weeks (which is when I went back to work part time). I needed the routine just as much as baby Z. Bath, baby massage, fresh onsie, dim lights, night time feeding in the rocking chair, swaddle, sleep. It took a week or so, but eventually calmed our whole house down in the evenings. The routine is still the same all these months later. Baby asleep by 7PM means a peaceful dinner and a couple hours to ourselves….it makes such a huge difference. You’ll get it all sorted it out. Be gentle with yourself during those teary times. I still get overwhelmed with doing everything right, but it really became so much better (for me at least) when I started getting feedback in the form of smiles and giggles from my sweet boy. Proof that he is happy and feeling safe and loved. Exhale.

  14. Meghan

    I found the best way to calm my daughter when she was so upset was to take a warm shower together. Something about the skin to skin, the warm water, and the noise seemed to totally chill her out. Good luck!

  15. Michele

    Welcome to parenthood Kathleen! When my son was little during Witching Hour, I would place him on bare chest and hum Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and if he wouldn’t lay down, we would walk (and walk and walk) circles around our coffee table (one time = 3hrs) and I would continue to hum and hum and hum. This also worked as he grew and would fight nap time (my husband could never figure out how I got him a-s-l-e-e-p in a matter of 10 mins (or less). I didn’t want to tell my hubby because this was OUR thing – and it frickin worked!!! To this day, my dear son, who is 11 now, STILL wants me to “hum that song” to him at bedtime, sometimes I try to trick him with another song, but he says “that’s not our song mama”….. and he still falls fast asleep in a matter of 10 mins or so……I am still stunned how this truly started as a calming method for HIM, and 11 years later it fills MY heart with so much love and peace, just like it did to him as a newborn! Sending mama love and peace……….

  16. Heather

    Oh goodness! We went through this same thing with Dax, and it was something I don’t ever want to live through again. I feel for ya’. BUT I do have a secret that pretty much worked every time to make the crying stop (too bad it took almost a month to figure it out!)- and I hope it works for you too. When he would start crying like that in the evenings, the only way to make him stop was to get in a warm bath with him and lay him on my chest. I took a lot of bubble baths and labored in a water birthing tub, so I think the water just had a calming affect on him. Try it out with little Fox, it may just do the trick. Fingers crossed, I know how heartbreaking it is!!!

  17. Crystal

    I remember with our first, I would literally start to sweat every time he would cry inconsolably. Sweaty, sweaty, crying mess. And yes, as the sun went down, the dread would start to creep in knowing what was ahead of us. There is just no silver bullet for soothing inconsolable babes. But love, teamwork, and deep breathing are pretty much the best things to get you through. Sweet Mama, you’re doing great.

  18. Mollie

    I don’t have kids and I’m kind of on the fence with the whole thing. But despite how dreadful the whole Witching Hour sounds I thought your solutions to dealing with it were so mindful and calming that it made me think “aww I want a baby to radiate love to.” Is that weird? I totally agree that adults also have a “witching hour.” I feel like crying when I get home from work most days for no particular reason but then I’m perfectly fine an hour later. Either that or I have mental stability issues. ;)

  19. allison

    this happened to us with ryder, who is now 9months. i went through several emotions, i was afraid, i felt like a failure as a mother, i felt guilty- like something was wrong with my milk?!! absolute craziness! like you said – you have to channel the love. really the number one thing that worked for us was my husband holding him in the football hold. it always calmed him down. that and we would put him in those fold out ‘rock no plays’ and pic it up and sway him from side to side. one time it took 180 sways- no lies. another thing we tried is my hubby would take him in the shower (not with the water on) and sing to him…something about the reverberation and echo- it was calming to
    our fussy babe. you are doing a great job and fox is beautiful!

    • Kathleen

      Oh I totally blamed my milk! Once I thought it was because I had curry for lunch. I pumped and labeled the bottle “Spicy?” – then I completely cut what little dairy I was eating out of my diet. Then I thought it might be eggs. I thought “before I know it I won’t be eating anything!” Jeremy mastered the football hold too!

      It sounds like you and your husband make a great team. XO

  20. I can’t vouch for this as I’m not a mama, but my friend swore off cruciferous veggies because she said they make babies colicky. I would have a hard time forgoing brocolli, but my friend’s baby is crazy mellow so maybe there’s something to it.

    • Kathleen

      This bums me out because I eat either cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower on the daily. I guess the idea is that they would make the baby gassy (because they make adults gassy too, yeah?) Maybe I’ll try it for a week and see how it goes. My little guy does like to fart it up.

    • Kathleen

      Oh man… apparently Kale is cruciferous too. What veggies are left!?

  21. Sarah E

    My brother was like this (or so I’ve been told- he’s older than I am). For I don’t know how many months, he would be inconsolable as soon as the sun started to go down. Didn’t matter inside, outside, bright lights on, whatever. I think Mom’s best line of defense was definitely my grandparents, who would come over and take turns holding and bouncing him.

  22. Rebecca

    With our first one, the witching hour took hold every night. My husband had already gone back to work, and one night he came home to me just sitting in the dark crying with a crying baby in my arms. I begged him to take him for a drive. I never did the lights on and off trick, but I found that running water would sometimes calm him. So I would stand by the kitchen sink running water to break the crying cycle. While not environmentally friendly, it seemed to help. After about six weeks, the witching hour went away. I didn’t realize it at first, but one night we looked at each other and realized it was quiet.

    • One evening I started to run the bath hoping it would calm Fox down – it turned out the running water did the trick! But it was only temporary… Since then I’ve learned dim lights, swaddling, and feeding do the trick.

  23. bliss

    Oh, Kathleen. I so feel for you. In the early days when I was still on maternity leave, I remember my hubs would encourage me to take a break, take a shower so I wouldn’t collapse in heap of tears. And while outside or in the shower, I’d pray that as I got closer, there would be silence, but most the time there was still this sweet, soft wailing demon baby, and my heart sink to my knees. We looked up everything from the 5 Ss (which was really helpful) to which foods to avoid (breastfeeding). And honestly I could calm her down with my magical breasts but then that was the answer to everything so I nursed her for 3 months straight—like non stop. She wasn’t colicy, but I was terrified that every time she’d start to cry she wouldn’t stop. She was really a very happy baby. A baby that required no sleep, but a happy baby all the same. (The sleep issues is what really was a challenge for us)
    Nova’s almost 2 now and it all seems so distance. So I’ll leave you with this: get involved in a support group of some sort, KNOW you’re an amazing mama and that your baby is perfect. And inscribe on your heart, “This too shall pass.”
    xoxo

    • Gosh, I’ve got my boob in Fox’s mouth pretty much all the time! I can do that for three months straight if it means no more tears. And I’m hiring a postpartum coach (Rebecca Egbert)! I recognized the need for help big time this week.

  24. Urban Wife

    You are doing great! I like what you said about radiating love. It’s amazing how much babies can sense our emotions. At least, I like to think they do. :)

    For what it’s worth, we used the Dr. Karp method on our son until he “adjusted to life outside the womb” which was around 4 months. It is so emotionally draining but once you get through it, everything seems “easy” in comparison.

    Hoping mister Fox adjusts quickly – and I love that photo of him yawning!

    xo

  25. Pam Raper (@pkraper)

    Disclaimer: Not a momma.
    Wow, you’re my hero all over again. I love that even through such challenging time as adjusting to parenthood, you’re still throwing it out there, keeping it real. More women should share these struggles and maybe we wouldn’t all feel so alone in the middle of a really hard transition. Bravo. As an old friend used to always tell me: this too shall pass.

    Keep up the good work. You’re doing AWESOME!

    • Aw, thanks Pam! That means a lot. I’m looking forward to sharing the sweeter moments too.

  26. MaryK

    ‘The Happiest Baby on the block’ is the best thing I ever read.

    The 5 “s’s – Swaddling, Side/Stomach position, Shushing, Swinging and Sucking.

    Good Luck!

    • Yup! We definitely do the S’s and they help.

  27. I was nannying a very sick babe once…he had both RSV & was beginning to teeth. He screamed his head off for what seemed like hours & it was totally frightening/exhausting/maddening.

    Super hate that you have to go through this :( sending you & Fox good, calm, relaxed vibes.

  28. Amy

    Oh man, sorry! It’s so hard! While you’re trying every conceivable thing, maybe consider B12 shots (for you)? There’s a study on PubMed that got a lot of press a few years ago, that shows that women with higher levels of b12 during pregnancy had babies who cried less (and the inverse was true for mothers with lower levels). I ate a ton of red meat during my pregnancy in hope of a calmer baby and we DID have some witching hour crying but it was pretty manageable. Anyway, I have no idea whether higher levels of b12 in breast milk would help, but it seems like it would be worth a shot (ha ha) and couldn’t hurt anything?

    • Oh, interesting! I’d be willing to give it a try!

  29. Elizabeth

    Oh, just reading this takes me back to those screaming days. I am so so sorry you’re going through this! It hurts my heart just thinking about it. It will get better, I promise!

    My son had horrible colic (pediatrician said the worst she had ever seen) and started screaming at 14 days and kept going until 4 months. My husband and I joked that the definition of colic—screaming for 3 consecutive hours 3 days a week—sounded like a luxurious vacation to us!

    Ok, so here are the things we did that helped the most, hopefully I’m not just repeating everyone above:
    Swaddle (pretty sure I saw you’re already doing this)
    Pacifier
    Vacuum cleaner noise on youtube. There is one that last for 8 hours—turn it on REALLY LOUD.
    Get one of those exercise balls and bounce him on it
    Have him in a dimly lit room
    Try to stay as calm as possible. Babies really do react to how you’re feeling and if you can feel calm and loving, it will help!

    I know it seems like it will never end, but it absolutely will and he will be just fine! I hope some of this helps. Best of luck to you!!!

    • Elizabeth

      I forgot to mention an important one: I eliminated dairy, corn, onions, chocolate and beef (apparently extra-sensitive babies react to beef as they do dairy. I can’t remember if you’re vegetarian or not!) from my diet. I did it one at a time to make sure it eased the screaming. It took a long time, but definitely helped.

      • I eliminated dairy because around the same time he had green slimy poos. Also Jeremy was sensitive to dairy as a baby. He has gotten better since … It would be tough to give up my nightly dark chocolate but I’d do it for this littles!

    • I think remaining calm is the biggest secret. And in fact, it’s probably teaching me some serious life lessons that can be applied outside of parenting.

      • bliss

        You’re a genius. It’s a wonder you can have such perspective. Just goes to show how well suited you are to be a creative coach and most definitely an incredible mama. Fox is a lucky little dude.

  30. Renee Powell

    Hang in there Kathleen and Jeremy! Babies are precious little people that like most have their unpredicabilities. There were times early on (and still sometimes at present) where Colin, E, and myself all reached the Witching Hour at the same time. Hang in there Kathleen and Jeremy!

    • Thanks, Renee! And apologies if you can hear baby boy crying from across the street. ;)

  31. I’m not a Mum, but I’ve so been enjoying your posts about your pregnancy and about being a Mum, it’s been fascinating and I love how open you’ve been. I think this post is amazing in the fact that you’re being honest about it not always being sunshine and roses. I find a lot of blogs I’ve read only focus on the positive things, but being an Auntie 7 times, and a great Aunt 3 times, I certainly know that there are times when things get hard and you don’t know what you’re doing. I certainly remember the witching hour with one of my nephews, it was sort of eerie how it would happen at nearly the exact time every day & lord knows sometimes I just want to sit and cry when my cat gets in one of his ‘moods’. Thank you for sharing.

  32. Angela

    Our son screamed bloody murder for 4 months straight. It was hell, I feel your pain. We tried everything everyone told us. I eliminated so many foods, shhhed, carried, swaddled, all of it. After 4 months he stopped. I think probiotics may help. I little in his mouth while he’s nursing. Hope it gets better. Sending love and patience.

  33. Jill

    This happened to us too and what helped most was simple (so simple I’m not sure it is even more than a fluke). We would give him a bath, feed him and put him to bed. We would start at 5:30 and have him in bed by 6:30 or 7 at the very latest. It turned out he just wanted to go to sleep and we didn’t realize keeping him up till 8 wasn’t going to make him sleep later. Quite the opposite. Still to this day we have not gone a day w/o a bath. It’s not about dirt, it’s about routine. Good luck….it all gets better.

  34. Kathie

    My son went through this as well. Repeat out loud or in your head: “This too shall pass, this too shall pass.” But is sucks, it really does. Hang in there. You are a great mom.

  35. Tonia

    Yikes. Bookmarking this post for future reference. You’re brave, mama. This sounds terrible. Good thing Fox is so cute! ;)

  36. Meghan

    This post made me tear up, just because all these new mom/parent feelings are still super strong in our house, too. We have a vivacious 9 month old boy & boy did he go through a witching hour phase at around 5 weeks until about 9 weeks. I would have to jiggle him while walking back and forth for what felt like hours upon hours every night & as a last ditch effort, I would fill up the tub & get in with him & sway him back & forth slowly floating in the water. That seemed to always work. Ultimately, as soon as you figure something out, he’ll change slightly & the rediscovering will begin again. There are still days & weeks where so many tears are shed, but it does get easier. You ARE a strong warrior mama, though, asking for help is important & brave. I, sadly, was hesitant to admit to people at first that I needed help bc I thought that meant I wasn’t being a good enough mom to figure it out on my own. Now I realize it does take a village & all other mamas are in similar boats whether they admit to it or not. Wishing you guys all the luck. These really are the best days…babies don’t keep. :) I miss his little baby days already. xo.

  37. Justyna

    When my 8-monther had moments like this and we were out of ideas, we would put a hairdryer on (or a hoover, or something else making humming sounds). It was like turning him off. This was my mother’s method too. Apparently, the hairdryer sound reminds babies of sounds inside the womb. There’s loads of CDs with this kind of calming sounds and even 1-hour movies on youtube, but, for some reason, my son preferred the hairdryer live. Also, my husband’s singing/humming when he had the baby on his chest. Plus taking turs when one of as was losing their patience. Kids pick up the mood too quickly.

    Good luck, Kathleen! It will only get better and more fun. Day by day. You won’t even notice. :-)

  38. ellie

    We went through the same thing with my second. He’s 18 months now and those days are far away. All I can say is don’t feel guilty for feelings that are natural. It’s okay to want the noise to stop, it doesn’t mean you at the same time want their contentment as well. It was a few months for us, we found out he is allergic to tons and more than likely he was having digestive issues the entire time (just nursing). I was sleep deprived, depressed, longing to enjoy the fat sleepy baby I had the first time. But, we made it, he rocks now. Sometimes it isn’t a fairytale and that’s ok. :)
    Congrats, by the way.

    • Thanks Ellie. How did you get more info on his allergies?

  39. Cherish

    Love from Tulsa.
    My son, Jude, screamed almost every day, ALL DAY, for the first three months of his little life. Colic. We tried EVERYTHING. I cried. We went to the Dr. on a weekly basis. I went to counseling. My husband dropped a semester of school so he wouldn’t be gone all the time. Just as I thought I would surely die HE.STOPPED.CRYING. He has been AMAZING ever since (he just turned five). My love, there is nothing you can do. There ARE things that help (a bit). Swaddling very tight and rocking/swinging back and forth while hushing close to the babies head. It sounds silly but it mocks the womb and it’s what the baby needs. The book Happiest Baby on the Block. It also sounds cheesy but it explains what colic is and it helped us as parents understand. Some babies just aren’t completely ready for the world yet. Humans keep babies in our bellies for 9 mo. because they grow too big to stay any longer. Other mammals have a longer gestational period. Read the book, it will help. I can ship you mine, just say the word! Hang in there Mama. This will pass. Tell yourself that over and over. Believe it. When he is crying, look at his little feet, his little mouth and realize that in a month or so when the colic stops those little feet will be even bigger. Time goes by so fast. Oh to have my little colicky baby back, even for a day, tears and all……….also, know that he is NOT hurting, he is preparing and getting stronger. So shall you. Cherish

  40. Jennifer

    When Fox is content and you are holding him, do your Mommy ‘signature move’, it can be lightly patting his back, or rubbing circles on it, or stroking his head, etc. Do it everyday, several times a day. Then, when he is distressed from teething pain, gas pain, or in cry-my-eyeballs-out-and-cant-tell-you-why-mode, do your signature move. The move will likely not relieve the problem, but remind him that you are there to help him through it and invoke the feelings of when he is content with you. Also, you can do the signature move when he is restless in his crib, which will remind him of being held by you and help him settle down.

    • Aw, I love this idea! Thank you.

  41. Rebecca

    Our babes are just a few days apart (I’m @webec on insta) and I’ve enjoyed watching you tackle this baby business! I keep meaning to establish a night routine. Currently, we just wing it till 9:30/10, then the wee one and I go to bed, nurse, and sleep (bed sharing). We’ve had some witching hours, though, so I want to establish routine. But I will need to figure out where to put her when she goes down! Normally we fall asleep together in bed! Guess this is as good a time as any to see if she will sleep in her Moses basket! Are you bed sharing? If so, how did fox respond to being put down alone for bed?

    • We sleep with Fox too. :) So we put him down to bed at 6 – by 7 he’s settled and asleep. I just lay him on the bed. He’s not mobile now so there’s no risk of him rolling off. And I usually make sure he’s on the sheets with no blankets around his face. Once he’s more mobile we’ll have to figure something else out. :)

  42. Kristen

    Love following along in Fox’s (and your) adventures! I’m a mom to 9-month old twins and I totally empathize with the witching hour. Definitely look into eliminating/adding foods, allergies, etc. if you are truly worried about that but also know that it does just get better with age! When our guys turned about 3.5 months all of a sudden there was a routine. Bedtime got earlier (from 9:30/10 to 6:30/7!), they gave us clear “tired” signs (eye rubbing) and we could read their cues much better. The witching hour just about disappeared and we also had our evenings back as a couple! Go team!

  43. Deb Charlap

    Aw, love, that is rough. I didn’t read everyone else’s comments, so forgive me if I’m just repeating. Big bouncy exercise ball does wonders for marathon crying sessions — let’s you hold and bounce, nurse and bounce, cry and bounce…! Bouncing being the operative word, obviously. I sang A LOT. It kept me focused on something positive and Leo responded well to it. Also, I didn’t underestimate the power of food choices to affect his gut (which was affecting his crying) — when I went 100% bland (no tomatoes, no acidic fruit, no spice, no sugar, no caffeine…!) his gut and his crying both calmed considerably. And that level of dietary restriction only lasted for the first few months (the 4th trimester), so it was worth it. And hiking in nature in the sling — wind, birdsong, walking — that was good for all of us. (Being stuck in the carseat is the worst, as you discovered). Blessings on you, good mama :)

  44. Amy

    Not a mama, but I have a bestie that’s a mom of three.

    She tried gripe water (which is supposed to be a miracle worker) but on her last babe even that wasn’t soothing. After five weeks of him screaming his head off for HOURS at a time she reached out for help and found a local pediatric chiropractor that was recommended by other moms.

    She took him for his first treatment and there was no witching hour that night. Something to do with vaginal births and alignment. She started taking him for weekly treatments after that.

    Again, not a mom – but when you’re at your wits end, anything is worth researching. :)

    Love your blog. Love your honesty and humility. And your bad ass style.

    Good luck, warrior mama!

  45. I just commented on a prior post but feel the need to comment again because I love that you wrote this.

    This is exactly what we experienced and it is so refreshing to see someone blogging about this when sometimes it seems all you read about is how much new moms are in love with their baby (which we all are), how good their baby is, how life with a newborn is such bliss…. it makes you think something IS wrong with your child who is constantly screaming their brains out. Is he okay? Does his tummy hurt? Is he in pain? Is something poking him? WHAT is it?

    And although worse in the evenings, with my little Silas it was an all day thing. I remember going to the store with him making a mad dash through the aisles grabbing what I needed because he may or may not have a complete meltdown (while I saw other little babies in the store fast asleep in carriers and car-seats). And I don’t feel like it was ever as bad as colic, but it definitely made me feel like a shut-in for a couple months– couldn’t take that little guy anywhere without him crying, at least for part of the time.

    (And whoever commented about getting sweaty, YES. I always felt like a hot sweaty mess when he bawled (it was August) and that gets you even more frustrated)

    I can’t really give you any help, because I don’t remember anything helping consistently (we always tried the 5 S’s— they helped about 10% of the time AGH- singing helped a tiny bit)… the only help I can give is to tell yourself “this too shall pass” and soak up everything good that happens, because yeah, before you know it he will outgrow his onesie that he only wore a few times and then you will get sad that he is growing so fast and then he is 18. Whoa!

    My baby is almost 7 months, and it is SO much better (although you will find yourself dealing with new challenges as time passes– hello sleep regression!). No doubt he still cries, and has his moments, and sometimes at the end of the day I am exhausted and worn out, but you just get used it. And maybe have an alcoholic beverage after he goes to bed. And maybe creepily stare at pictures of him on your phone while he sleeps….

  46. Renee

    Every warrior mumma resorts to google and ‘lose your shit tears’ from time to time. In fact yesterday I was googling ‘my 3 year old is addicted to smelling our chickens … help’ because my train of thought was – she likes smelling chickens. OK. Does she have a fetish? Fantastic. Will she get an addiction to textas, car exhausts and drugs? Geez. Should we start saving for rehab now? Crap. I think my 3 year old is an addict [cue tears], Recover. Breath. No sweat. Ok she likes chickens. Done. Hang in there … at least you can look forward to your google searches getting a little more obscure.

  47. ellie

    I had him tested for the basics around his first birthday. Now I’m on the hunt for a Pediatric Nutritionist. I’m usually lost as to what to feed him!

  48. Jenny

    Gosh, I remember those early days (mine are ages 5 & 7 now). Is it a rite of passage? I think that it was my challenge and it really made me a mom…in the way that it forced me to be there and just figure it out. All I know now is that it is a distant memory and new challenges continually present themselves. I’m a better problem solver because of it. To get through that stage, my kids nursed and nursed and nursed. And then nursed some more. It’s not for everyone, but was what worked for us. The best to you on your new journey…

  49. Sarah

    I’ve got a 6.5 month old and the first three months were ROUGH. We started with a witching hour that ran every day 7:30 to midnight and the evenings loomed up like a cloud of doom everyday. Then, the days started to go bad too. She wouldn’t nap and the inconsolable crying was impossible. We thought it was the worst, colic. Then one day my mom came to help and got baby to sleep – putting her down was always risky, because she would easily wake up again, so mom decided to keep holding her. Magically, she slept for 2 hours. So, that was that. Baby just wanted her people to hold her. So we did…for three months. We worked in shifts – my mom, dad and MIL coming a couple days a week to give me a break, my husband cut back on his work hours and we held her for every single nap. One of us would hold her in the evening before our own bed time while the other ate, showered, etc. She was happier and would sleep, but still wouldn’t tolerate be put down. Finally, around 3.5 months, her anxiety was over and we could put her down for naps. Bringing her to bed with us was necessary for the nights, though we had every intention of keeping her “safe” by putting her in her crib. But, baby was clear that she needed us, so that’s what we gave her. Did my research on co-sleeping and found that the naysayers are pretty uninformed. So, now I’ve got the happiest baby, so it was worth all the effort. I also know now that she means business when she wants to be held, so I don’t hesitate to pick her up if she’s upset. But, the greatest part is that she is hardly ever upset anymore. I think she really knows she can count on us to be there, so she’s a very confident baby.

  50. Viv

    My magic trick was ABC dolphilus…my baby,s witching hour was colic for 2 months until I started adding 1g a day of this probiotic powder to her feddings, I would split in 2-3parts.

  51. Viv

    Of couse all those raining/white noise apps also helped!

  52. Pingback: We are not alone. | south market street

  53. Shayla

    I could NOT be more in love with this post, Kathleen. It doesn’t take effort to see that you’re an amazing momma. (Which is a thing you’ll always have times of questioning- whether you’ve got 1 or 20 kids; if you’ve been doing this 3 months or 30 years. ) You’re doing well, and you’re doing good. for sure.

  54. I remember this. My Fox’s cry was never in the colic range but I did experience many witching hours while my husband was away at work, and it was so stressful. Going outside and walking around the yard 5,000 times with the baby in the wrap always helped. So did standing in the bathroom with the fart fan on bouncing and shooshing and singing. It’s exhausting. Your body’s responce to cry to release your stress is a positive one. Embrace that release- YOU ARE DOING GREAT xo

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